I am surprised by how bitterly I mourn the death of Benjy.
This is partly due to the actor, who I found very appealing, and who managed to make a strong impression with not much screen time. His habitually grave, serious expression was appropriate for someone living in the shadow of the DiMera legacy. And when he gave Steve the devil card and kissed him on both cheeks, the gravity of his expression deepened into one of mournfulness and a consciousness of his own perfidy.
I mourn him, too, because of the missed opportunities for this character. More than Lexie, he could have truly been the good DiMera. His backstory with Steve could have been fleshed out in very interesting ways. Steve’s selection as the new DiMera pawn back in 1990 could have been explicitly linked to his role in rescuing Benjy two years earlier. The DiMeras could have tortured or brainwashed Steve into revealing Benjy’s whereabouts, and then used them both as hostages for each other. EJ and Benjy could have been brought up together under the DiMera shadow, with young EJ embracing the legacy of evil from a young age, and Benjy (influenced by the kindness Steve still shows him, even in his brainwashed state) resisting it. But their shared childhood could have been a bond that extended into adulthood.
No doubt Benjy’s death is an attempt by TPTB to ramp up the stakes of the feud, which thus far (on this go-round) has involved a lot of drama and near-death experiences, but which has added up to very little. (I could of course have suggested many other characters who I would rather have seen get the chop.) And I hope that they will do something with it.
Steve seems to think that Benjy’s death is a retaliation against him, because he’s been playing the DiMeras all summer long. It’s plausible, and this could lead to some interesting drama for Steve and Kayla, and also for the DiMeras. For instance, we’re still not sure if Stefano knew whose liver he was getting. It was implied that he didn’t, but he seems to be aware of it now. Why doesn’t he care? As the psycho card has been increasingly pawned off on Andre, I’m not sure exactly what Stefano is thinking right now. Joe Mascolo is bringing a wonderful haunted quality to his performance these days, haunted by the father who was lost to him after Colleen’s death, but the show needs to flesh out his current state of mind.
In fact, that needs to be done for all the DiMeras. We need to know how Stefano, Andre, and EJ truly feel about the feud right now. At the beginning of the summer, there were some wonderfully layered scenes with those three (of course we thought Andre was Tony then), as Andre and EJ competed to be Stefano’s true heir. The show desperately needs to revisit the family dynamic and how it has been altered by the Andre/Tony reveal, by Tony’s return, by the legacy of Santo, and now by Benjy’s death. If Benjy’s death isn’t forgotten about next week, if it truly creates a schism in the DiMera family, and we really get to see the aftershocks for Steve, and see how everyone is affected by it, maybe I could be reconciled.
I would hate to think Benjy will have died in vain.